Movie News

Paul’s Oscar Picks

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Oscar Sunday is nearly upon us, and it seems like this year has been one of the closer races for many awards. In previous years, there have always been stand out candidates, especially for Best Picture, who always end up winning. That was the case for the two previous Best Picture winners, “Argo” and “The Artist” even if I didn’t feel “Argo” was the best film of 2012.


This year though, I honestly don’t think there are many clear cut winners. My view might be a bit off though, because this is one of the first years in a long time where I’ve seen nearly all the candidates before the awards. Granted, I didn’t see everything, specifically “Philomena” and “Dallas Buyers Club” but that’s not going to stop me from giving my opinion on who I feel will win tomorrow night.


Each award will be presented with who I want to win, who should win and who will win. In some cases, each of the three may be the same candidate, but that is by pure coincidence. I will always be skipping some awards, particularly the Documentaries and Shorts, because I haven’t seen any of them, so they would just be blind guesses. I’d have a better chance of picking the winner if I threw a dart at the choices lined up while blindfolded.


With that out of the way, here are my picks for the 2014 Academy Awards.




Best Cinematography:

Who I want to win: “Gravity”

Who should win: “Gravity”

Who will win: “Gravity”


You’re going to see a lot of “Gravity” in these picks, because it was honestly the most impressive and innovative film to come out in 2013. Inventing all new technologies to make your film happen is one thing, but to make your film feel like it is in outer space takes a little bit more. I predict “Gravity” to sweep in every technical award that it is nominated for, though I don’t think it will be as lucky once we get to the bigger awards.


Best Costume Design: 

Who I want to win: “The Great Gatsby”

Who should win: “12 Years A Slave”

Who will win: “American Hustle”


Each of these films were able to transport me back to their own time periods, so each one deserves the award. “The Great Gatsby” was flashy and vibrant, so that is the one I want to see win. Films that only get one nomination of any kind don’t usually win. “12 Years A Slave” was impressive in how it was able to capture the era, and costume design was one of those aspects. However, it seems like the hype of “12 Years A Slave” is beginning to die out, so my pick goes to “American Hustle” because most of the voters get a kick out of the 1960s and 1970s.


Best Editing: 

Who I want to win: “Captain Phillips”

Who should win: “12 Years A Slave”

Who will win: “12 Years A Slave”


As I previously mentioned, the voters seem to be getting over how great “12 Years A Slave” was. If the Oscars were a month ago, I garuntee you that it would have nearly swept the Academy Awards. Now, it has been too long since the film came out. It is nearly out of their memory, so it is going to be overlooked. This is going to cost “12 Years A Slave” some big awards, but one of those is not going to be editing. Far too many scenes that were enhanced by editing and framing of shots, it was the most impressive in that category. I would say “Gravity” except that had very little editing, with many continuous shots.


I would like for “Captain Phillips” to win, but I don’t see it winning any awards.


Best Makeup:

Who I want to win: “Dallas Buyers Club”

Who should win: “Dallas Buyers Club”

Who will win: “Dallas Buyers Club”


It is up against “Bad Grandpa” and “The Lone Ranger,” both of which were critical flops and “The Lone Ranger” is even nominated for several Razzies (the opposite of the Oscars, covering the worst films of the year). That is going to effect who gets this award.


Best Original Score:

Who I want to win: “Gravity”

Who should win: “The Book Thief”

Who will win: “The Book Thief”


“The Book Thief”’s score was done by John Williams. As in the guy who brought you “Star Wars”, Indiana Jones, “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park” and has been nominated for more Academy Awards than Meryl Streep. This one is going to John.



Best Original Song: 

Who I want to win: “Let It Go” from “Frozen”

Who should win: “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”

Who will win: “Let It Go” from “Frozen”


“Happy” is now a hit radio song that everyone and their mother has heard. It is a truly great song that I’m glad to listen to. However, I feel that not only the song should be looked at, but also how it is used in the movie. In “Despicable Me 2,” it was kind of a throw away moment and we only get to hear a bit of the overall song. In “Frozen,” “Let It Go” was this beautiful ballad that was the highlight of the film, with stunning visuals and a good toe-tapping moment. I feel that will give “Let It Go” the victory.


Best Production Design:

Who I want to win: “her”

Who should win: “Gravity”

Who will win: “American Hustle”


I really wish that “her” had a better chance at winning more awards. Alas, there are far too many choices to go with, and “her” is more of the obscure choice for voters. As such, I don’t see “her” winning here. It will probably end up being “American Hustle” for much the same reason it will win Costume Design, the voters love being transported to that era and feeling it they are apart of an era of time that isn’t looked at fondly.


Best Sound Editing & Sound Mixing:

Who I want to win: “Gravity”

Who should win: “Gravity”

Who will win: “Gravity”


Like I said, I predict “Gravity” to sweep the technical awards, even if the mixing in this case is a bit muffled due to taking place in space. Hey, that just makes it all the more impressive and captivating. To be so powerful and emotional, yet so quite and reserved. The sound compliments to the imagery in this case, and for that, it deserves to win the award.




Best Visual Effects: 

Who I want to win: “Gravity”

Who should win: “Gravity”

Who will win: “Gravity”


This one is a no-brainer. It is the most visually stunning film of the year.


Best Original Screenplay:

Who I want to win: “her”

Who should win: “her”

Who will win: “her”


This is the one award that I feel “her” has locked up. It is one thing to transport you back in time, but is something entirely different (and far more interesting) to take you to a realistic future. To do so with colorful characters and a wonderful setting makes it all the more fascinating to watch.


Best Adapted Screenplay:

Who I want to win: “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

Who should win: “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

Who will win: “12 Years A Slave”


It would be amazing to see “The Wolf Of Wall Street” win the award, because it was genuinely funny and insane to watch. Unfortunately, as far as adapting the source material, I’ve heard the film is extremely unfaithful, so I think that will move people away from this award. I think more will be impressed by “12 Years A Slave” which has taken so long to get an adaptation and has been faithfully portrayed on the screen.


It’s all about faithfulness when it comes to this award.


Best Animated Feature: 

Who I want to win: “Frozen”

Who should win: “The Wind Rises”

Who will win: “The Wind Rises”


This one is a toss-up between “Frozen” and “The Wind Rises.” On one hand, you have Disney with a beautiful animated film, going back to the Disney roots while updating them. This film has also supposedly been in the works for nine years. On the other hand, you have Hayao Miyazaki’s “supposed” last film with “The Wind Rises.”


I say supposed, because Miyazaki has become the Brett Favre of the filmmaking world: Always announcing his retirement, unsure if he will ever make a film again, only to come back a year later and come out of retirement. This is seriously the third time Miyazaki has announced this, and he has yet to stay true to his statement.


That might effect whether he gets the award, but since he is starting to get up there in age, he might mean it this time.




Best Directing: 

Who I want to win: Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”

Who should win: Steve McQueen for “12 Years A Slave”

Who will win: Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”


If Steve McQueen were to win Best Director, he would be the first African American to win the award. To win such an award for the most brutally honest depiction of slavery ever put to film would be stunning to see.


Yet, I can’t help but feel like Alfonso Cuaron will get the award. “Gravity” was so impressive, so mind-blowingly beautiful that it deserves everything that it is nominated for. Cuaron has become one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, with works like “Children Of Men” and “Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban” (my pick for the best of the Harry Potter films), Cuaron has shown that he can handle a wide range of stories and make them all visual spectacles. I feel that will give Cuaron the award.


Best Supporting Actress: 

Who I want to win: Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”

Who should win: Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years A Slave”

Who will win: Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years A Slave”


I would like to see Jennifer Lawrence win two of the top actress awards in two years, especially since I felt that she was the best actress in “American Hustle.” Any time she was on screen, she was a laugh riot and brought some new life in certain scenes.


Since Lawrence did win last year for “Silver Linings Playbook” I think the Academy won’t give it to her. Instead, they’ll go with the safe pick of Lupita. Getting whipped like she did in “12 Years A Slave” just might be clincher.


Best Supporting Actor: 

Who I want to win: Michael Fassbender in “12 Years A Slave”

Who should win: Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”

Who will win: Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”


While Fassbender’s popularity has spiked in the last few years, I don’t think people see him as a truly great actor, which is a real shame. The man can pull off so many different yet diverse characters and each of them with such a great passion.


Abdi was wonderfully intimidating and I would really like to see more awards for “Captain Phillips” (due to the lack of Tom Hanks being nominated for best actor).


The awards already given seem to indicate that Jared Leto is the way to go. Like Lupita, he is a safe bet and to be able to pull of being both a man and woman is quite a talent. I think he’ll get the award.


Best Actress:

Who I want to win: Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”

Who should win: Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”

Who will win: Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”


This is the biggest no-brainer of the Academy Awards this year. Blanchett carried “Blue Jasmine” and made that film worth watching. Every award has been given to her already for this performance, so she deserves this one too.


Let’s just hope they don’t give it Meryl again, because I still don’t think she deserved it the last time it was given to her. For crying out loud, give some other actresses a shot at the award.


Best Actor: 

Who I want to win: Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

Who should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years A Slave”

Who will win: Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years A Slave”


I wish that Leo would get his first Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “The Wolf Of Wall Street” because he carried that movie. He also did something incredibly hard to pull off and made an unlikable douchebag into a character that you wanted to see and care about. However, I feel that, if we are going by the best solo performance of all five, then I have to give it to Chiwetel. It all came together in that final climatic moment, where his performance can be summed up in one look.


I also feel this is worth mentioning. In the past, certain acting Oscars have been given to actors because the Academy is giving them a break. Whether because they’ve never gotten the award before and it is more about their body of work over one performance (Sandra Bullock and John Wayne) or because the actor is about to die (Christopher Plummer), the Academy feels they deserve the award over all other contenders. I feel this is not the way to go about it, as these awards deserve to go to whoever gave the best standout performance. So I don’t think Bruce Dern deserves this award because he is old or Leo deserves it because he’s never gotten it before. I think Chiwetel deserves it because he gave the standout performance of these five actors. That is what matters when it comes to the Oscars.




Best Picture: 

Who I want to win: “her”

Who should win: “12 Years A Slave”

Who will win: “Gravity”


This is one of the most competitive Best Picture awards I can ever think of. So many worthy candidates fighting for the Oscar. Some of the possible winners include “12 Years A Slave,” “American Hustle” and “Gravity.”


I would be eternally happy if “her” ended up winning the award, as that was my pick for the best film of 2013. However, this is the outside and bizarre pick. People certainly liked it, but I feel more people liked “Gravity,” both of which are science fiction. So people will probably overlook “her.”


“American Hustle” seems to winning many acting nods at other award shows, but not much else. I think this one has a better chance than most of the other nominees, but it still doesn’t match up to others.


“Captain Phillips,” “Philomena,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” are just happy to be there. They are certainly best picture material, but they don’t have enough to bring home Best Picture.


I know nothing about “Dallas Buyers Club” so I won’t comment on that. Let’s just say I would be extremely surprised if this won Best Picture.


That brings it down to “12 Years A Slave” and “Gravity” which were both impressive, but in very different ways. “12 Years A Slave” just may become one of the greatest films of all time for its depiction of slavery and how brutally honest and graphic it was. While “Gravity” is a technical marvel, maybe even being the “2001: A Space Odyssey” of the 21st century.


In the end, it will come down to what the voters were more impressed by: “Gravity”’s technology or “12 Years A Slave”’s honesty.


I would like to think that “12 Years A Slave” will win out since human emotions and stories of one of the hardest times in American history prevail over flashy and good-looking films. But, as I’ve previously mentioned, the voters are forgetting about “12 Years A Slave.” Even though both films were released around the same time, people were more blown away by “Gravity” for being able to make something like space terrifying yet exciting.


So, in the end, I feel “Gravity” will walk away with the Best Picture Oscar. It is hard to describe exactly what makes me pick it over “12 Years A Slave” but it is something that I feel in my gut. You never know exactly what the Academy is going to pick, but you can make educated guesses based on what has won in the past. Considering what has won the award in years past, “Gravity” fits more in line with those winners than “12 Years A Slave” does. Maybe that’s why I believe it will win.


Either way, we will find out soon enough.



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